A few weeks ago, Technical Editor Philip Ryan and I were treated to a preview of Sony’s first interchangeable-lens compacts (ILCs), the Alpha NEX-3 and NEX-5, and we were excited to have a chance to check them out after having been teased with look-but-don’t-touch prototypes at February’s PMA trade show As I held the camera up to frame a shot, Sony Senior Technical Manager Mark Weir said, “This camera is a game-changer.”
Nikon’s ultimate telephoto zoom is built tough, fast, and image-stabilized
NIKON 200— 400MM F/4 VR II
WHETHER YOU’RE photographing stadium sports, birds on the wing, dangerous animals, or celebrities without their permission, Nikon’s full-frame AF-S Nikkor 200—400mm f/4G ED VR II (equivalent to 300—600mm on APS-C sensors) has it covered.
LEICA BILLS its new V-Lux 20 as a “universal compact camera,” and the specs make a good case forthat: 12.1 megapixels, 12X 25-300mm equivalent zoom with optical image stabilization, GPS tagging, 720p HD video recording—all in a pocketable body an inch-and-a-fraction thick.
IT’S BEEN more than four years since Toshiba last sold a camcorder stateside. The company began its return to the market in Europe, and it just announced three HD camcorders here. The sweetest of the bunch is the Camileo X100, which shoots HD video in 1080p at 30 frames per second, or 1080i at 60 fps.
Toshiba’s X100 can share movies straight to YouTube from the camera, even if you shot in 1080p HD. How? The camera records both HD and lower-resolution, YouTube-ready video simultaneously. So when you’re done filming, you can easily post your recorded clips by connecting the camera to a computer and pushing a button to share.
WE WEREN’T surprised when we saw the new Flip SlideHD video camera, which looks like a normal Flip when closed, but slides open to reveal a wide, 3-inch touchscreen. After all, so many folks use the camera itself to share videos, it makes sense to create a monitor meant to show them off.
Crumpler’s rugged photo backpack protects your gear
Crumpler C-List Celebrity
MORE AUSTERE on the outside, Crumpler’s C-List Celebrity series of bags have an electric green interior that make locating your mostly black camera gear easy. Crumpler is known for its ruggedness and urbanized style, and these bags fit right in.
Type-A photographers, especially those who don’t use an image editor with a built-in organizer, can consider ACDSee, now in version 12 ($70, direct; www.acdsee. com). The interface makes it easy to categorize, tag, and rate your photos—and now share directly to Facebook.
Now that we’ve seen Sony’s interchangeable lens compact (page 66), we can’t help but wonder if Canon and Nikon will soon follow suit with their own APS-C-sensor ILC models. After all, both have lots of APS-C expertise. We wouldn’t be surprised if the two camera makers’ drive to stay on top prompts them to, as Sony did, develop a whole new line of small lenses to match.
Pocket-sized projectors take your show on the road
BenQ Joybee GP1
CANDY-BAR-SIZED, LED-powered pico projectors are the big thing in mini multimedia. Aimed at business travelers, these have onboard memory, rechargeable batteries, and a range of ports to let you project virtually anything, anywhere.
HOT-SHOE FLASHES have their benefits—they pump out more light than your on-camera flash, mn on separate batteries, and are portable. But their small size can mean harsh light, especially when you’re in a situation where you can’t bounce light off a ceiling or wall.
A look inside Tamron’s Vibration Compensation mechanism
FOUR OF TAMRON’S IF macro zoom lenses, including the newest 70—300mm f/4.5—5.6 Di VC, contain versions of the Vibration Compensation mechanism dissected here. Counteracting camera shake, three driving coils move the optical components within the VC lens group electromagnetically, determining their position based on signals detected by the mechanism’s gyro sensors.
Blinking city lights, bustling sidewalks, staggering skylines, lush urban parks, diverse passersby, racing taxis—where else but New York City could you find this much thrilling visual inspiration? Join the Mentor Series and Nikon professional photographers Reed Hoffmann and Layne Kennedy as they guide you along avenues and alleyways to unique photo opportunities.
White boards provide both backdrop and light for a sun-kissed drink
NEXT PHOTO CHALLENGE
When Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld, 42, of Portland, ME, first started doing food photography in 2008, she quickly learned how to improvise with thrifty gear. Her home studio, where she shoots both for Portland Monthly and for the agency Stock Food, was until recently her kitchen table and a few cheap backgrounds and accessories—including 16x24-inch foamcore boards she bought from an art supply store for about $1.50 each.
I’ve worked for Cirque du Soleil, on shows such as Mystère and Criss Angel’s Believe, and the musical Spamalot, in Las Vegas, Belgium and Paris. I take pictures of live shows, backstage, and portraits. I’m coaching and shooting a show, The House of the Dancing Water, opening in China this summer.
EVER WONDER what astronauts do in their free time? Commercial photographer Hunter Freeman does. “You have these incredible people, with a really great but tough job,” he says. “When they’re not working, what are they doing?” That curiosity developed into a photographic interest seven years ago, when he had an assignment from Microsoft to photograph someone in an astronaut outfit.
I’M IN MY THIRD YEAR of teaching digital photography (among other art classes) at the high-school level and I really want to step up the students’ technical knowledge beyond the shutter speed/aperture relationship. Your “10 Things You Must Know About Light” (May 2010) is to-the-point, easy to understand, and opens the door to so many possibilities.
Q Do UV or circular polarizing filters cause zoomed images to be blurred? I have done some unscientific testing using my Pentax K10D with Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 II APO EX DG Macro lens and UV or circular polarizing filters. Pictures taken at maximum zoom are blurry if I use either of the filters, but they’re significantly clearer with the bare lens.
Christine Dulaney of Grand Junction, CO, asked us, “Which Canon lens should I get for my EOS Rebel T2i if I want to enlarge my landscape photos to 20x30 inches?” For starters, she’ll want an extrawide-to-wide zoom, and for Canon’s APS-C format, that means the 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 Canon EF-S, equivalent to 16-35mm in full-frame terms.
This month’s winners captured wildlife personalities around the world
MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST
“In my small town in southern Sweden, there are always a lot of snails in wet weather, and I’ve photographed them hundreds of times over the years. Last July, I was out with my camera after the rain, and this tiny, lonely snail on my cottage door caught my interest.
“At the end of a 14-day diving trip in July 2004,1 did a night dive in the Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi, Indonesia. I’d seen pictures of stargazer fish before, and though I knew they aren’t hard to find in the area, I didn’t run across one until this night.
Shaping light and changing perspective creates a disorienting image of an ordinary subject
FOR NEWCOMERS to still-life photography, John Manno says, “Don’t go for a pretty picture, go for an interesting picture. Art is really about changing something through interpretation and manipulation.” The New York-based commercial photographer (www. johnmanno.com) enjoys the challenge of bringing a concept or story into his images of ordinary objects.
WE IMMEDIATELY liked Alva Clarke’s shot of young Kenyan boys racing across a dry lakebed to their local village. The Las Vegas resident had just enough time to squeeze off one shot before running to catch up with them. And, like many grab shots, it needed a little work.
MOST PHOTOGRAPHERS obsess about sharpness, but there’s an equally passionate subset concerned about unsharpness. Its holy grail? Beautiful bokeh. This Japanese word that translates roughly as “the quality of blur or haze” refers to defocused image areas in front of or behind a sharp subject, usually formed from defocused points of light.
HERE’S A challenging project: Shoot the same scene from exactly the same location in all four seasons. You should pick one that fits easily in your camera’s viewfinder without having to resort to a wide-angle lens. For variety, look for trees that flower in the spring and change color dramatically in fall.
THE COLOR PROFILE in which you edit and print your photos isn’t necessarily the same one you’ll want when you share them. It makes sense to shoot JPEGs in Adobe RGB, and open RAW files in ProPhoto RGB. But when you want to upload them to a website, share them with a friend who doesn’t color manage, or print them at a drugstore lab, you must convert them to sRGB.
LCD viewer: It can be attached or handheld over your camera’s LCD screen. How it works: Plastic housing blocks sunlight to keep glare off the LCD, and a magnifying lens enlarges the image for focusing. When to use it: In bright light, when sharpness is critical, and to protect the LCD from scratches.
WHERE TO GO BIGGEST & BEST FIREWORKS At any major fireworks display, you want to have a good spot to shoot. Find a location that isn’t blocked by crowds or tall buildings, and is not downwind of the display. You can get advice on where to station your camera and tripod from event organizers and local photographers.
THIS IS A LOVELY portrait of a lovely woman who, frankly, needs no retouching. Still, occasionally it’s nice to see a slightly more idealized or slightly younger version of yourself. And sometimes your portrait subjects request a little sweetening.
To keep the ambiance of dark interiors, stay subtle
HOW TO ADD LIGHT TO DARKNESS
GLANCE QUICKLY at Jeff Green’s image of the Blush nightclub in the Wynn Las Vegas and you might guess it was a straight shot made entirely by ambient light. You'd be wrong. Green, who photographs some of Sin City’s most alluring candlelit bars, restaurants, and lounges, added more than a dozen lights to this scene.
For an image of two worlds, put your camera where water and air meet
NEAR THE Redwoods Forest in Rotorua, New Zealand, the river water is nearly as transparent as the air. I wanted to take advantage of it by showing a mountain bike crossing a river from above and below the water line. The location’s super-clear water was a start, but I also knew that I’d need the right equipment.
FORGET ABOUT arctic storms and guerrilla wars. The moment you slip underwater, you’ve entered the most hazardous and difficult shooting environment there is. Water, particularly corrosive saltwater, will devour your electronics in less time than you can say, “Why did my battery just sizzle?”
FISH & CORAL Almost entirely protected by marine parks, and flushed with the nutrient-rich outflow of South America's Orinoco River, the tiny Caribbean island of Bonaire boasts over 370 species of fish. The numerous easy shore dives make this an ideal destination for macro photography.
THE THREE HOTTEST NEW ILC CAMERAS FROM PANASONIC, SAMSUNG, AND SONY BATTLE IT OUT IN THE POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY TEST LAB AND ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK. WHICH ONE WINS?
Ease of Use
Control and Capability
SPECIFICATIONS SONY NEX-5
SPECIFICATIONS PANASONIC G2
SPECIFICATIONS SAMSUNG NX10
CONSUMER-ELECTRONICS giants are changing the way we photograph. Panasonic, Samsung, and now Sony are packing a slew of new features, from touchscreen focus control to 3D panorama shooting, into small cameras that have large sensors and trim lenses you can swap out.
THE MOON IS one of nature’s power elements, instantly drawing attention and establishing a primal connection with viewers. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate the moon into my nature photography—it adds mood, drama, and compositional interest.
The U.S. Naval Observatory publishes sun and moon data, including moon phase and rise and set times, on its website (www. usno.navy.mil/USNO/ astronomical-applications/ data-services/rs-one-day-us). There, a simple calculator lets you enter a location (in the U.S. or internationally) and a date to get data for your area.
“unique” finds a wholly appropriate partner in the Ricoh GXR, which turns the concept of the interchangeable-lens compact (ILC) on its head. Unlike ILC cameras from Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony, the GXR employs interchangeable camera modules, each housing its own lens, imaging sensor, and processing engine.
THIS IS Nikon’s first 1:1 MicroNikkor in the DX (APS-C) format. With a street price of $500, it offers D3000, D500, D300, and D90 shooters true close-ups—with Vibration Reduction II—at a much lower cost than Nikon’s other VR macro, the $890, full-frame, 105mm f/2.8G.
LENS TEST SIGMA 50-500MM F/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM AF
A HUGE ZOOM GETS STABILIZED
SUBJECTIVE QUALITY FACTOR
THE FIRST VERSION of this lens earned the nickname Bigma for its 4.25-pound heft and huge size. Now comes Son of Bigma ($1,600, street), lighter at a little less than 4.2 pounds, yet with a number of optical improvements including image stabilization.
THE LATEST VERSION OF PHOTOSHOP IS DEFINITELY WORTH THE UPGRADE
Nice Little Improvements
More Powerful HDR
Better Bridge and RAW
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
EVERY 18 TO 24 months, just when it seems like you’ve finally gotten used to all the features in the current version of Adobe Photoshop, a new version comes out. This time it’s CS5 ($700, direct, for the full version; $200, upgrade), which is actually the 12th iteration of this mother of all image editors.
Audrey Taft was photographed by Edward Shuster as she dried off after a swim near Malibu Beach, CA. Shuster used a 4×5 Crown Graphic with a 6.5-inch Ilex Paragon f/4.5 lens. Sunlight provided backlighting, while a press 25 flashbulb served to lighten shadow areas.
I STARTED Sandhogs after the New York blackout of 2003. The blackout had gotten me thinking about the infrastructure of the city and how little I knew about it, and the more I researched our underground water system the more fascinated I became.